A Fair and Balanced Review of King 810’s New Album Memoirs of a Murderer
Look: it’s no secret that we’re not fans of King 810 here at MetalSucks. But for whatever it’s worth, I sat down to listen to the new King 810 album Memoirs of a Murderer with no distractions and an open mind. Maybe I had it all wrong, maybe I’d find something to like, maybe they’d surprise me.
So, let’s start with the good and work our way down. Some pros: “Fat Around the Heart,” the first single, is a fantastic song that’s grown on me since I first heard it. It’s original, it’s catchy, it’s visceral and it hits hard. “Eyes,” a ballad, is easily my second favorite song: it’s also catchy, and I dig the atmospherics, even if the cringe-worthy lyrics read like they’re from a teenage diary.
Neither here nor there: David Gunn’s vocal delivery. I liked it at first — it’s original, I’ll definitely give him that — but after a while it becomes grating because it’s SO dramatic and exaggerated.
And then there’s everything else: Memoirs of a Murderer pretty much sucks. I wasn’t into nu-metal the first time around and I’m not into it now that the nostalgia machine has once again made it acceptable to like. This kind of music feels incredibly tired in 2014, and it wasn’t interesting in 1999 either.
Since I recognize that the “nu-metal sucks herp-a-derp-derp!” argument is worn, let’s dig in a little deeper here.
From a musical standpoint King 810 don’t really offer very much: these riffs have been played before hundreds of times and these song structures are completely predictable. King 810 play lowest common denominator metal, and I think the average metal fan demands more intelligence out of the music they choose to listen to from the many available options. Simply put, you, metal fan, deserve better. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with simple music, but when it comes to metal my tastes (and probably yours too) lie elsewhere.
The lyrics throughout Memoirs are laughable. During nu-metal’s first go-round it wasn’t the overly angsty lyrics that bothered me — I’m not much of a lyrics guy anyway — and though I didn’t relate to the “woe is me” theme most of those bands were singing about I didn’t care because, for me, the music itself was the turn-off. King 810 kind of force the point, though, because their lyrical themes are SUCH a central theme to the band’s entire existence and marketing push, and the vocals are WAY up front in the mix — they’re impossible to ignore.
Every single song on this album is about death, dying, fights, self-defense, guns, poverty, etc, often to the point of comical exaggeration. I do believe that [probably] these lyrics are based on the real lives of the band members. But why the need to harp and harp and harp? Surely these men have other things going on in their lives about which they could sing. Unfortunately the tough guy aspect is pretty much all these guys have going for them, which band and label alike recognize and have exploited to the nth degree. I want to hear the music speak for itself — is it good, or is it not? Everything else is secondary. The fact that the tough guy angle is played up so hard here is a turn-off, because a) it feels like it’s over-compensating for the fact that everyone knows the music isn’t really anything special, and b) I cannot relate to the lyrical content at all, whether it’s real or not. Sure, lots of metal bands sing about completely ridiculous shit, way more than these guys! Satanism. Viking warriors. Etc. But those bands play music that speaks for itself, and the lyrics are mostly an afterthought, not the focus like they are with King 810.
If you don’t demand much from the music you listen to, or you can appreciate the novelty aspect of King 810 in an ironic fashion, Memoirs might be the album for you. Otherwise you won’t be missing anything if you skip it.
An earlier version of this incorrectly stated that “Eyes” was an acoustic song that closed the album. That song is “State of Nature.”